Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 - Summer Loan Exhibition

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This is Adam’s fifth Summer Loan Exhibition drawn exclusively from Private Collections from both North and South of the border. The exhibition opens at Adam’s in Dublin this year where it will run for 4 weeks in July before transferring to Clandeboye for August/September where it forms part of the Clandeboye Festival 18th – 23rd August with Camerata Ireland. The Summer exhibition this year celebrates the significant role that women have played in the history of Irish art, be it through their own craft, their organisational skills and their encouragement and support of younger artists; a role that has too often been overlooked.

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Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 - Summer Loan Exhibition

  1. 1. 1 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970
  2. 2. 2 Published on the occasion of the exhibition : - IRISH WOMEN ARTISTS 1870 - 1970 Adam’s, 26 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 8th - 31st July 2014 The Ava Gallery, Clandeboye Estate,Co. Down 7th August - 5th September 2014 First edition. 2800 copies published by Adam’s Auctioneers (June 2014) Essay by Claire Dalton ISBN 978-1-909751-18-7 © All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or be transmitted in any form or by any means without the permission of the copyright holders. © Claire Dalton has asserted her rights under the copyright and related acts to be identified as the author of Irish Women Artists 1870- 1970 catalogue essay. Printed by Nicholson and Bass Northern Ireland Front Cover - Cat. No. 12 Sarah Purser The Visitor Back Cover - Cat. No. 88 Norah McGuinness The First Sheaf
  3. 3. ‘ Adam's, 26 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2 8th July - 31st July The Ava Gallery, Clandeboye, Co. Down 7th August - 5th September The AVA Gallery, Clandeboye Estate Bangor, Co. Down, BT19 IRN (T) +44 (0)28 91852263 Exhibition times only 26 St Stephens Green , Dublin 2 Tel +353 1 6760261 Fax +353 1 6624725 info@adams.ie www.adams.ie Est1887 at Clandeboye. Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 1. Mainie Jellett (1897-1944) Fear Not Mary Gouache, 35.5 x 51cm Summer Loan Exhibition
  4. 4. 4 2.*Hilary Heron (1923-1977) Adam and Eve (1951) LignumVitae, 29cm Signed with monogram and dated 1951 Inscribed with title and also inscribed “As portrayed byVictor & Mabel” Foreword This is Adam’s fifth Summer Loan Exhibition drawn exclusively from Private Collections from both North and South of the border. The exhibition opens at Adam’s in Dublin this year where it will run for 4 weeks in July before transferring to Clandeboye for August/September where it forms part of the Clandeboye Festival 18th – 23rd August with Camerata Ireland. The Summer exhibition this year celebrates the significant role that women have played in the history of Irish art, be it through their own craft, their organisational skills and their encouragement and support of younger artists; a role that has too often been overlooked.
  5. 5. 5 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 3. Estella Solomons HRHA (1882-1968) Woman in a Red Tie Oil on canvas, 51 x 61cm Exhibited:“Estella Solomons Retrospective” Exhibition,The Crawford Gallery, Cork 1986,
  6. 6. 6 This timely and wide-ranging exhibition illustrates and more importantly celebrates the contribution of Ireland’s women artists within this period, not for the sake of their sex but for their artistic ability. While some of these very accomplished artists have been recognised for their contribution to Irish art through solo exhibitions, retrospectives and publications, many have yet to be properly acknowledged and appreciated. ‘Irish Women Artists from the Eighteenth Century to the Present Day’ was both a comprehensive publication and an exhibition by the National Gallery of Ireland and the Douglas Hyde Gallery in Trinity College in 1987, the same decade as two related groups were formed - the Women Artists’ Action Group in the South and its Northern counterpart NIWAAG – to raise the profile of women artists across the country. With the benefit of almost thirty years since that significant exhibition, we can look again at the role played by Irish women artists in this formative time and celebrate their talents, versatility and legacy. The artists in Adams’s exhibition worked in a huge array of media, from gouache, watercolour and oil to stained glass, bronze and wood engraving. At times the access to such materials as stained glass and bronze and the physical capacity to work with them must not have been easy but these artists persevered, at times in the face of indifference, and even hostility. The sheer variety of subject matter, from Letitia Hamilton’s Fair Day, Clifden to Mainie Jellett’s Abstract Composition, via Kathleen Fox’s Ruins of the Four Courts and Lady Beatrice Glenavy’s still life World War I shows that women were not confined to producing sentimental images of children playing, chocolate- box landscapes or flower studies. The timescale of this analysis, 1870 to 1970, covers a period of great change in the socio-political landscape of Ireland, starting when the country was still feeling the effects of the Great Famine, and encompassing the War of Independence, Civil War, Easter Rising and Creation of the Irish Free State, as well as two World Wars. The circumstances under which women worked were different from those affecting men. In 1870 women were seen as amateurs in the art world and lacked the opportunities for training, exhibition and sales. They were chaperoned by men and when in 1893 they were eventually let into professional schools such as the RHA school, they were barred from life drawing and anatomy classes. Visual arts were also connected with religious institutions and the aristocracy and seen as a ‘genteel hobby’ rather than a genuine vocation. Many of the female artists of this period shared similar family backgrounds and came from well-off, if not always extremely wealthy, origins. These independent means enabled them to pursue their artistic endeavours when they didn’t reap financial rewards, certainly not within their lifetimes. A middle-class Protestant background was more likely to be an encouragement to a female artist’s talents, rather than working class Catholic roots1 . They also generally remained single and only a few became mothers. Actively rejecting contemporary social conventions, these women independently pursued their own goals as artists, educators and pioneers. 1 Finucane, P. and Connolly, M. Journeys through Line and Colour, p.iii, University of Limerick 2010 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970
  7. 7. 7 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 4. Lady Beatrice Glenavy RHA (1881-1970) World War I Oil on canvas, 50.8 x 13.2cm Signed with monogram Literature:The Art of Beatrice Elvery, Lady Glenavy, Nicola Gordon-Bowe, Irish Arts Review,Vol II 1995, p169-175
  8. 8. 8 Despite their similar backgrounds, Irish women artists of this period couldn’t be easily boxed into categories with narrow definitions. Individuality ran deep and true as you would expect throughout any amorphous group of artists over a 100 year time period, but especially with female artists who had to fight harder to be seen and heard. In spite of these difficulties, as well as being artists, the women profiled here were writers, teachers, political activists, designers and publishers. Each made their own individual strides whether on a local or national scale, but collective recognition for their achievements was hard won from the mostly male, conservative establishment. Male artists tended to conform more to the expectations of this dominant establishment which had a Nationalist, conservative agenda. Instead of looking abroad and to the future for the development of art in Ireland, they looked inwards and to the past, to reviving, maintaining and strengthening an Irish identity which manifested itself in a more academic artistic style. The majority male group was well served by their political connections and access to the media so naturally they held considerable public sway 2 . The most prominent Irish artistic commentators and critics were all men, and weren’t afraid of using condescending, chauvinistic language to belittle female artists. Whereas Irish male artists such as Seán Keating and Aloysius O’Kelly were looking to the west of Ireland for inspiration for a new nationalism based on the traditions of the ‘noble peasant’ of Aran or Achill, female artists looked abroad to Europe, and in fact France played a vital role in the creation of an Irish national art scene. The galleries and salons of Paris held considerable attraction for female art students and nearly all Irish women artists of the late 19th century and early 20th century were students there at some stage. Teachers in the city were considered cosmopolitan, open to new ideas and above all willing to teach female students on a similar, if not the same, basis as their male counterparts. The best students, both male and female, were attracted to Paris, which also boasted a willing selection of models and access to eminent French painters. One of this exhibition’s earliest featured artists, Helen Mabel Trevor (1831-1900) was born in County Down and began to study art seriously only in her forties, staying in Paris around 1880. She excelled at painting children and her works such as Race to the Bottom of the Bowl and Children Playing in a Barn capture the innocence and preoccupations of their private world. Both compositions show the children like parentheses, framed around a central point of interest; in one the viewer is allowed the privilege of seeing what it is, while in the other we can only guess. She left Paris for Normandy and Brittany, which were also visited by other Irish women artists, including Mary Kate Benson and her sister Charlotte, and May Guinness, in the surrounding years. 2 Finucane, P. and Connolly, M. Journeys through Line and Colour, p.iv, University of Limerick (2010)
  9. 9. 9 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 5. Helen Mabel Trevor (1831-1900) Children Playing in a Barn Oil on canvas, 52 x 64cm Signed _____________________________________ Born in Loughbrickland, Co. Down in 1831 Helen MabelTrevor showed a talent for drawing as a child, and her father Edward HillTrevor of Lisnageard House, set up a studio for her. In the 1850s she exhibited portraits and animals studies at the Royal Hibernian Academy. In her forties, after the death of her father, she began to study art formally at the Royal Academy Schools, London, 1877-1881. Then began a long period of travel and residence on the Continent with her sister Rose. They visited Brittany and Normandy c.1880-1883, working variously at the artists’ colonies of Pont-Aven, Douarnenez and Concarneau in Finistere, and atTrouville. Helen painted several studies of elderly women and children in a Realistic manner, and landscapes in the open air. TheTrevor sisters lived in Italy, 1883-c.1889, visiting Florence,Assisi, Perugia,Venice and Rome, Helen copying Old Master paintings in museums, and painting genre scenes of Italian life. TheTrevors moved to Paris in 1889, and this became their base during the 1890’s. Now nearly sixty, Helen attended classes in the ateliers of Carolus-Duran and Jean-Jacques Henner, and in 1894 of Luc-Olivier Merson. She painted in the artists’ colony of St. Ives in Cornwall, c.1893 and Concarneau, in Brittany 1895-96, and at Antibes in the South of France, 1897. Trevor exhibited regularly at the RHA and at the Paris Salon, 1889-1899, gaining honourable mention there in 1898. After her death in Paris in 1900, two of her paintings, of Breton or Normandy peasant subjects, were bequeathed to the National Gallery of Ireland, and Rose presented a Self-Portrait by Helen. Another Breton painting ‘TheYoung Eve’ is in the collec- tion of the Ulster Museum, Belfast. Julian Campbell
  10. 10. 10 6. Mary Kate Benson (1842-1921) A Court Quimperlé, Brittany Oil on canvas, 60 x 44cm Signed and dated 1891 Inscribed artist’s label verso Exhibited: Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, 1892, catalogue no. 311 Les Peintres de Quimperlé (1850 -1950) Chapelle des Ursulines, Quimperlé June/Oct 2013 __________________________________________________________ Mary Kate Benson was born in Dublin and studied in England under Herkomer and Calderon and in Paris under Lazare. Her sister Charlotte was also a painter. In 1891 she visited Brittany and was based in Quimper painting street scenes similar to this, and studies of local girls.
  11. 11. 11 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 7. Maria Dorothy Webb (1850-1900) Girl in an Orchard (Under the Apple Blossom) Oil on panel, 34.25 x 25.5cm Signed and dated Exhibited: Irish Painters in Brittany Exhibition. The Crawford Gallery Cork, May – July 2001. __________________________________________________________ Maria Webb was probably a student at the RDS Schools. She started exhibiting at the RHA in 1873, and won several prizes at the Amateur Artists’ Society in 1877. She went to Paris in 1880, becoming a pupil of Robert-Fleury at the Academie Julian. She made regular summer visits to Brittany (c.1881-1885) initially to Pont-Aven, then becoming one of the early foreign members of the artist colony at Concarneau.There she stayed at the Hotel desVoyageurs. She became a close friend of Finnish artist Maria Wilk. She is thought to have met her future husband at Concarneau and they were to later become central fig- ures in the artists’ colony at St. Ives, Cornwall. Their house provided studios for friends and visiting artists. Maria exhibited a large number of her Breton paintings, of fishermen and peasant women, of street, market and woodland scenes, at venues in Dublin, London and Liverpool (1881-87) and significantly at the Paris Salon (1883-84). Today her works are extremely rare.The present small picture is a charming plein air scene of a Breton girl in an orchard, a popular subject in the period.The presence of blossom on the trees and the sprin- kling of bluebells and other flowers in the grass indicate that it is springtime. The painting has a distinctive intensity of colouring in the greens of the orchard, the heightened painting of the girl’s face, the red of her scarf and the blue of her apron. Indeed Webb’s use of broken brush- strokes and her interest in dappled sunlight and shadow, suggest an interest in Impressionism at this time, particularly in Pissarro’s evocative pictures of peasant girls, dating from the early 1880’s. Julian Campbell
  12. 12. 12 8. Mildred Anne Butler RWS (1858 - 1941) The Gate to the Herbaceous Garden Watercolour, 36.5 x 27cm Signed Mildred Anne Butler (1858-1941) studied in London with her lifelong friend Rose Barton before they both travelled around Belgium, France, Switzerland and Italy in the mid 1880s. She first exhibited at the Watercolour Society of Ireland in 1892 and was to show over 200 works there over her lifetime. Her watercolours may appear quite traditional and sedate to modern audiences, but when they were painted in the 1880s she was influenced by the French fashion for painting ‘en plein air’, which was considered shocking at the time to the art establishments in both England and Ireland. Her paintings such as The Garden Cart show her keen interest in botany and a lightness and delicacy of touch in her favoured watercolour. Rose Barton (1856-1929) shared an appreciation of this medium, as she herself would go on to exhibit over 100 works at the Watercolour Society of Ireland in her career. At the beginning of our period of study a group of six women, the best known of whom is Fanny Currey, formed a local drawing society in Lismore, Co. Waterford and after several regional exhibitions under various names this was eventually to become the Watercolour Society of Ireland and from 1891 their Spring Exhibitions were to become an annual fixture on Dublin society's calendar. Watercolour Society of Ireland
  13. 13. 13 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 9. Mildred Anne Butler RWS (1858 - 1941) The Garden Cart Watercolour, 35 x 51cm Signed __________________________________________________________ A privileged upbringing allowed Mildred Anne Butler to travel to London to study under Paul Jacob Naftel (1817-91) and later to Paris where she joined the studio of Henri Gervex (1852- 1929) for a time. She exhibited at the Dudley Gallery in 1888 and in 1890 with the Royal Water Colour Society of Ireland. She was included in the first exhibition of the Belfast Art Society, showed five works at the RHA and in 1896 had the rare honour of being included in the Royal Academy annual show where her presence was vastly outnumbered by those of male artists. Butler’s work was represented at Hugh Lane’s exhibition at Guildhall in London in 1904, and three years later had a show with Percy French, Claude Hayes and Bingham McGuinness at the New Dudley Gallery.
  14. 14. 14 10. Rose Barton RWS (1856 - 1929) St Patrick’s Cathedral Watercolour, 27.5 x 18cm Exhibited:“Rose Barton Retrospective”,The Crawford Gallery, Cork, Jan 1987 which travelled to London, Belfast and Kilkenny, Cat. No. 31 __________________________________________________________ Tipperary born Rose Barton began a long relationship with the Royal Water Colour Society of Ireland in 1872 when she first exhibited with them.Three years later she spent some time in Brussels, taking painting and drawing classes, and in 1878 she exhibited for the first time at the RHA.The following year she sat on the committee of the Irish Fine Art Society. After a spell of studying in London under Paul Jacob Naftel (1817-91), her work was included in the Royal Academy show in 1884. She continued to exhibit in London at venues such as the Japanese Gallery,The Dudley Gallery, Grosvenor Gallery and Clifford Gallery. In 1904 two of her works were included in Hugh Lane’s Irish Art exhibition at Guildhall in London, and three were shown at the RHA annual show. Barton’s watercolours, mainly executed in Dublin and London, are distinguished by an emphasis on the almost tangible atmospheric effects of weather conditions. She became known not only through these original works but also through her illustrated books of both cities.
  15. 15. 15 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014
  16. 16. 16 Professional women artists were still very rare at the end of the nineteenth century – Sarah Purser was an exception. She came from a family with both intelligence and business acumen. She was educated in Switzerland before studying at the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin and later the Académie Julian in 1878. Elizabeth Coxhead remarked, “At thirty she was the oldest and most serious, with no time to waste on cerebral love affairs and agonies of the soul”. 3 After suffering a financial crisis in the family, she marketed herself as a portrait painter, using her many social connections - famously commenting “I went through the British aristocracy like the measles”. She was a great collector of pictures and an important patron, and her forceful and determined personality drove the development of the place of women in Irish art. From 1911 she held regular social gatherings for Dublin’s intelligentsia at her home, Mespil House. In 1924 she founded the Friends of the National Collections of Ireland and was instrumental in setting up the Hugh Lane Gallery. She was also the first woman artist to be elected a full academician of the RHA in 1925, the year after Thomas McGreevy complained that the lack of women allowed in the RHA by the male establishment may lead the world to think “it is because the women are better artists than themselves”. 4 In fact, Art History as a university subject owes its origins in Ireland to Sarah Purser, who in 1934 persuaded her cousin Sir John Purser Griffiths to join her in making money available for a scholarship and prize to be given in alternate years by Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin, to the best candidates in an exam in the History of European painting. This led to the two universities founding History of Art departments in the 1960s, facilitating generations of women to learn the history of art on a world scale. From Sarah Purser in 1873 to Norah McGuinness and Nano Reid in the 1920s, most Irish women artists of this period studied at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art and came under the tutelage of William Orpen, Patrick Tuohy, Harry Clarke and Seán Keating over the years. The School (still existing today as the National College of Art and Design on Thomas Street, Dublin) traces its origin back as far as the year 1731, when the Royal Dublin Society was founded for the improvement of husbandry, manufactures, and other useful arts. In 1746 its members announced that, “Since a good spirit shows itself for drawing and designing, which is the groundwork of painting, and so useful in manufactures, it is intended to erect a little academy or school for drawing and painting, from whence some geniuses may arise to the benefit and honour of this kingdom, and it is hoped that gentlemen of taste will encourage and support so useful a design.” 3 Campbell, J., Art Students and Lady Travellers p.17-21. In: Irish Women Artists from the Eighteenth Century to the Present Day. The National Gallery of Ireland & Douglas Hyde Gallery (1987) 4 Ibid. p.20
  17. 17. 17 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 11. *Sarah Purser HRHA (1848-1943) Girl by Window Oil on canvas, 26.5 x 19cm __________________________________________________________ Sarah Purser studied at the Academie Julian 1878-79 which was unusual for an Irish woman at the time.There she met and became friends with artists of many national- ities including Swiss student Louise Breslav with whom she became a lifelong friend. She was to return regularly to Paris visiting artist friends and exhibitions.
  18. 18. 18 12. Sarah Purser HRHA (1848-1943) A Visitor, (1885) Oil on canvas, 76 x 51cm Signed Exhibited: Irish Women Artists Exhibition National Gallery of Ireland 1983 “Seeing AVisitor once more and experiencing its mystique are pleasures in themselves, and at the same time this is an opportunity to unravel facets of Sarah Purser’s early career.This sitter is Mary Maud, daughter of Colonel Marcus de la Poer Beresford, and a relative of Archbishop Marcus Beresford of Armagh at whose cathedral she and Julian had married in 1883. Glimpses of the artist emerged when Mary Maud wrote that “…I found some specs and said at once they were yours, there is an outward bend of the sticks that I well remember gave your veil a peculiar cock at each side - I will send them to you tomorrow.We all missed you very much and now we frequently quote you”. Sarah habitually wore pince-nez, but no doubt a veil required more stable spectacles. Whatever about specs and quotable bon-mots, what Sarah did not leave behind was a second picture for which Mary Maud had posed, in the same chic hat and walking-dress, and this was shown as AVisitor at the annual exhibition of the Dublin Sketching Club in December 1885. One press reviewer found the picture “remarkably cleverly painted with a firm yet pliable brush.A young lady, dressed in a light gown, is seated in the shadow of a window on a sofa, the light falling on her dress.The position is easy, yet very much foreshortened, and the tone that pervades the penumbra of the room is ex- ceedingly true, if a little bleak and cold.” He made no mention of the brilliant handling of the palette-knife to create the three-dimensional effect of the skirt, nor did he note the verve with which the parasol and striped sofa are swept onto the canvas, nor the able and economic rendering of details from a ring to scarlet boot-buttons.And the fact that a “subject” exhibit by a professional bore no price escaped comment too. Not offering AVisitor for sale was, to judge by Sarah’s like treatment of Le Petit Déjeuner, surely a mark of the painter’s affection for their models, and her lasting regard for both pictures, which remained in her possession all her life.AVisitor was hanging over a doorway in Mespil House when Sarah Purser’s goods were auctioned after her death. Dr. John O’Grady
  19. 19. 19 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014
  20. 20. 20 Young ladies whose parents could pay the fees formed the majority of day students and in fact in existing records of the composition of the school’s employees, students and members between 1911 and 1950, women were always in the majority, often by narrow margins but still they outnumbered the men5 . Harry Clarke, who met his artist wife Margaret (1888- 1961) at the school, described the situation as it was seen at the time: “Serious students of this period would joke about the daughters of wealthy Dubliners who would come in during the day to amuse themselves and dabble in arty crafty pursuits, while the worthy but impoverished night students would slave away in the hopes of winning scholarships. A favourite trick was to pile up the chairs at night so that the ladies would have nowhere to sit. Certainly the contemporary fashion for arts and crafts contributed to this female influx”6 . As Clarke noted, Irish women artists of the time were not just painters but practised in an array of media encompassing engraving, lithography, poster design, metalwork and enamelling. The Arts and Crafts movement underwent a revival in Ireland in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in line with other countries in Europe and America. It had become more acceptable for women to practise these crafts in guilds, mainly working and exhibiting anonymously, and contributing to the surge of nationalism based on cultural revival in Ireland. However, Lily Yeats was an exception to the ‘anonymous crafter’ and became known for her embroideries such as The GPO and Foxgloves, which she mainly exhibited through the Arts and Crafts Society of Ireland (established in 1894)7 . After attending the Metropolitan School of Art, Lily Yeats was employed in William Morris’s workshops from 1888 to 1894. With her sister Elizabeth (“Lolly”) and Evelyn Gleeson, she set up the Dun Emer guild in 1902, a craft collective formed under the medieval guild model favoured by Morris, helping young women to earn a living through embroidery, rug-making, printing and bookbinding. Breaking away from Gleeson in 1908, the sisters established Cuala Press, producing prints and cards and publishing new works by writers associated with the Irish literary revival, including W.B. Yeats and J.M Synge. The Yeats family’s contribution to Irish culture is already legendary, but the two sisters Lily and Lolly perhaps deserve more recognition for their integral role. Fig. 1. Students of the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art including Margaret Crilley Fig. 2. Students at life class at the Dublin Metropolitan School including Harry Clarke who was to marry fellow student sisters Margaret Crilley also in photo. 5 ‘Metropolitan School of Art, Dublin’, Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951, University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII, 6 Turpin, J., The Metropolitan School of Art 1900-1923 (Part I) p.59-78. In: Dublin Historical Record, Vol. 37, No. 2 (1984) 7 Lewis, G., Rediscovered embroideries by Lily Yeats, p.147-150. In: Irish Arts Review Vol. 14 (1998)
  21. 21. 21 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 13. LilyYeats (1866 - 1948) The GPO Needlework panel, 25 x 20cm Signed in stitching Label verso inscribed with title and states that this piece was designed by the artist Dorothy Blackham
  22. 22. 22 Fig. 4. LilyYeats in Greenhouse at Cuala.Fig. 3. Mary CottenhamYeats (1863-1947) “O,Wind, O Mighty Melancholy Wind” (Illustration of JohnTodhunters verse) Hand coloured Cuala print __________________________________________________________ In 1883 theYeats family moved from Howth toTerenure, and that year both Lily and LollyYeats entered the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art. Lily took embroidery lessons from May Morris (1862-1938), daughter of William Morris (1834—96), a prime mover in the English arts and crafts movements.After six years, she began exhibiting her own embroidered pieces, mostly focusing on artistically stylized flower compositions. In 1902, the sisters settled with their father at ‘Gurteen Dhas’, Dundrum, Co. Dublin. Ms Evelyn Gleeson also settled in Dundrum, and she founded the Dun Emer Industries, Lily working at embroidery and Lolly mainly at printing.About 1906, Lolly widened the scope of the Press, and began to specialize in hand-coloured prints, Christmas cards, pamphlets, and she executed many of the designs. Cuala press was adapted after a break with Evelyn Gleeson and her brother Willie. Lily continued to teach local girls in a wide range of expressive stitches, and some were framed, or incorporated into cushions, table or bed linen or furnishings. Many were sold at nationalist art fairs, art and crafts exhibition in Dublin, London and NewYork, or given as presents far and wide. Mary Cottenham White was known to all as Cottie as a fellow art student of JackYeats whom she married in 1894. LilyYeats executed a number of her designs for embroidery, the best known of which were the banners for the cathedral in Loughrea.
  23. 23. 23 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 14. LilyYeats (1866-1949) Foxgloves by a Stile Needlework panel, 24 x 25cm Signed in stitching
  24. 24. 24 SculpturealsohasitsparttoplayintheoveralloeuvreofwomenartistsinIreland.Sculptors Gerda Frömel, Imogen Stuart and Hilary Heron here demonstrate their skills working with a variety of figurative and abstract subjects in materials including bronze, steel and marble, and as artists were comfortable working on large scale public commissions as well as the smaller, sensitive works seen in this exhibition. The Philosopher by Sophia Rosamond Praeger (b. Holywood, Co. Down in 1867) was exhibited for the first time in plaster at the Liverpool Autumn Exhibitions in 1912 and became extremely popular when cast in bronze, liberating Praeger from having to work for money8 . As well as writing and illustrating children’s books, she modelled in clay and plaster, carved in stone and marble and cast in bronze. Praeger also played an important role in the establishment of the Ulster Academy of Arts (now the RUA) in 1930, and was one of 13 founding members elected that year, 4 of whom were women. Fellow founding members Georgina Moutray Kyle and Mildred Anne Butler can also be seen in this exhibition, demonstrating the integral nature of these female artists to Irish art as a whole. Born in Craigavad, Co. Down, Georgina Moutray Kyle (1865-1950) began contributing to the Ulster Academy shows in 1894 and went on to be one of its most active members, exhibiting frequently until 1928 and holding various offices including the vice-presidency. She was perhaps the first local artist to exhibit Breton landscape scenes in Belfast9 , and her art was enriched by her experiences in France and Holland. Her oeuvre comprised portraits, still life, landscapes, harbour views and market scenes, characterised by a soft tonal range, heavy outline and a strong emphasis on shapes. Fig. 5. Hilary Heron with her walnut piece “PillowTalk” (1953) 8 Gaynor, G., An Ulster Sculptor: Sophia Rosamond Praeger, p.34-43. In: Irish Arts Review Yearbook Vol.16 (2000) 9 Black, E., A Distinctive Palette - The Art of Georgina Moutray Kyle exhibition catalogue, Naughton Gallery Queens (2004)
  25. 25. 25 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 15. Sophia Rosamond Praeger (1867-1954) The Philosopher Bronze on wooden plinth, 28cm (bronze) Signed and inscribed with title Sophia Rosamond Praeger was born in Holywood Co. Down and studied at the Slade in Lon- don under Legros where she won prizes for clay modeling. She studied in Paris before returning to Ireland setting up a studio first in Belfast then in Holywood. Her reputation was established when she first exhibited a version of this highly popular piece “The Philosopher” which she later carved in marble and did several versions of including this one in bronze. She ran a very successful studio producing small plaster pieces . She exhibited 53 pieces at the RHA between 1899 - 1944 and was elected HRHA in 1927. She also served as President of the Royal Ulster Academy and is also remembered for her illustrations in children’s books.
  26. 26. 26 __________________________________________________________ Born at Craigavad, Co. Down, Georgina Moutray Kyle was educated at home by gov- erness and tutors.After attending the Colarossi’s studio in Paris in 1880’s, she travelled widely before returning to Ireland with a distinctly modern palette and post-impres- sionist style. She also exhibited works of Concarneau and Quimperlé at the RHA and the Belfast Society. In 1930 the artist was represented in the Irish exhibition at Brussels, and where the Belfast Museum and Art Gallery bought “The market, Concarneau” which had been exhibited in the Paris Salon in 1924. She became an active committee member of the Belfast Art Society (later called the Ulster Academy of Arts) and was a dominant persona in Belfast exhibitions in the 1920s and 30s. Fig. 6. Georgina Moutray Kyle 16. Georgina Moutray Kyle RUA (1865-1950) Breton Village Scene Oil on board, 51 x 32 cm Signed Provenance: From the Collection of the artist SamuelTaylor Exhibited:The French Connection,The Ava Gallery, Clandeboye Estate, Bangor, Co.Down,August –Sept 2010, Cat No. 13,The Hunt Museum, Limerick Sept-Oct 2010.
  27. 27. 27 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014
  28. 28. 28 Some female artists in Ireland were more involved than others in social and political events in the turbulent times of the early 20th century. Kathleen Fox (1880-1963) returned to Dublin in 1916 after four years in Europe, and witnessed and recorded some of the events of the Easter Rising first hand. She had studied at the Metropolitan School of Art from 1903, where she became a protégée and later assistant of William Orpen, and got to know Constance Gore-Booth (Countess Markievicz) and Willie Pearse (brother of Pádraig) while there. She sketched at the scene as Countess Markievicz and her 118 fellow rebels were surrendering to British troops outside the Royal College of Surgeons, St. Stephen’s Green. Conscious of the existing political tension, she completed the painting in secret and then sent it to a friend in New York for safekeeping10 . A further example of her skill in documenting real events can be seen in Ruins of the Four Courts (1922) which shows this familiar and important building with the dome missing and gutted buildings flanking it, an important record of a seminal time in Irish history. Estella Solomons (1882-1968), a fellow pupil of Orpen at the Metropolitan School, was a committed nationalist who sympathised with anti-Treaty forces during the Easter Rising and Civil War. Her studio in Brunswick Street (now Pearse Street) became a regular rendezvous for Dublin’s artistic and political community, including Arthur Griffith and Horace Plunket. She was a member of Cumann na mBan, an Irish republican women’s paramilitary organisation, and her studio was often raided, leading her to burn portraits of those she harboured, for fear they could be used as evidence against her 11 . The exhibition also celebrates artists who were born elsewhere but chose to identify with, live and exhibit in Ireland in these formative years. Elizabeth Rivers (1903-1964) was born in Hertfordshire but said she “only felt conscious of being English in war time” 12 . She spent five years studying under Sickert at the Royal Academy Schools and later three years in Paris with André Lhote from 1931, so followed a path already trodden by several notable female Irish artists. She lived on Inis Mór for 7 years from 1936 and in 1946 met Evie Hone with whom she worked until Hone’s death in 1955, particularly on the large commission of 18 light windows for Eton College. Her work across media including oil paintings, book illustrations and wood engravings, is characterised by an emphasis on line, sensitive observation of figures and a strong feeling of atmosphere. Her contribution to modernism in Ireland has been overshadowed by her contemporaries Hone, McGuinness and Reid but she was noted for bringing a refreshing view of the Western landscape she grew to know so well, one removed from the sentimentality of other, mostly male, artists in the mid 20th century. 10 Finucane, P. and Connolly, M. Journeys through Line and Colour, p.20, University of Limerick 2010 11 Coulter, R. A Meeting of Minds: Russell, Solomons and O’Sullivan. p.100-105. In: Irish Arts Review (2006), Vol. 23, No.1 12 Kennedy, B. ‘Elizabeth Rivers 1903-1964: A Retrospective View’ exhibition catalogue. Gorry Gallery, Dublin (1989)
  29. 29. 29 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 17. Kathleen Fox RHA (1880-1963) Ruins of the Four Courts Oil on canvas Signed and dated 1922 Exhibited: 1923 RHA Annual Exhibition, Dublin Cat. No. 243 __________________________________________________________ Kathleen Fox was brought up in an Anglo-Irish family on the outskirts of Dublin and studied at the Metropolitan School of Art, attracting the attention of William Orpen, whose assistant she eventually became. She first exhibited with the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1911 before leaving to paint in Paris and Bruges, returning to Dublin in 1916. She moved to Nice at the end of the 1910s but continued to exhibit in London and Dublin as well as France, before returning to Dublin again in the mid 1920s. She was a highly successful portraitist in Ireland and England and well regarded for her flower studies of the 1940s and 50s.
  30. 30. 30 18. *Estella Frances Solomons HRHA (1882-1938) The Butterwoman Oil on canvas, 68.5 x 56cm __________________________________________________________ While avoiding the sniping on Baggot Street Bridge Estella met a kindred spirit, Kathleen Goodfel- low and together they enlisted in Cumann na mBan, the auxiliary branch of women volunteers. By 1918 every working-class women was a member of Cumann na mBan so powerful the organisa- tion developed, and the fastidious Countess Markievicz was at their head. Phyllis Ryan to be Seán T. O’Kelly’s future wife drilled the unit that Estella was attached.After training when most members were sent down the country Estella stayed and gave her support in Dublin. A period of uncertainty reigned. Ireland was experiencing the duplicity of Lloyd George and his colleagues, and their prevarication; and houses were subjected to close searches for arms. Estella surprised her parents by taking an inordinate interest in gardening and she raised superb heads of lettuce for family consumption. Beneath the lettuce heads were concealed supplies of ammunition for Sinn Féin volunteers and she would deliver these to an agent, whom she called “The butterman” in Baggot Street. He taught her how to fire a revolver which they practised in his backyard.“The Butterman” was later arrested but not for his revolutionary activities but for his habit of watering the milk.This portrait of his wife, a good natured, benevolent plump woman, hung in Estella’s Studio until her death. This note is an edited section from “Portraits of Patriots” by Hilary Pyle 1966.
  31. 31. 31 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 19. *Estella Frances Solomons HRHA (1882-1938) Darrell Figgis Oil on canvas, 61 x 46cm __________________________________________________________ Darrell Figgis (1882-1925) was born into a wealthy tea merchant family moving to Ceylon while an infant but the tea business was not for him as he preferred to write both as a poet and journalist. He moved home to Ireland around 1910 and quickly discovered Irish politics and nationality. In 1913 he joined the volunteers and was one of the instigators of the Howth gun-running incident of July 1914 having bought the arms in Hamburg and moved them to the Roetigen lightship off the coast of Belgium where they were transferred to the yachts belonging to Erskine Childers and Conor O’Brien. Although not active in the 1916 rising he was arrested and transferred with the elite to Reading prison, one of many detentions imposed in the following years. He wrote about these detentions in two chronicles in which he apparently exaggerated his role as he was generally unpopular. However Arthur Griffith admired and trusted him as they were both wary of the more militarist wing of the Nationalist movement. He supported the treaty and was elected to the Sinn Féin executive in 1922 where he was appointed vice- chairman of the committee to draft the Free State Constitution. He ran as a pro-treaty Independent candidate in June 1922 when he topped the poll. His political career went into decline after that and eventually he took his own life in London in October 1925.
  32. 32. 32 20. Elizabeth Rivers (1903-1964) Mackerel Harvest Wood engraving, 7.5 x 9.5cm Signed, inscribed and numbered 2/6 Fig. 7.The artist and friendon Aran _____________________________________ Born 1903 in England; she studied first at Goldsmith’s College, under Edmund J. Sullivan (1869-1933) from 1921 until 1924, showing distinct interest in wood engraving. She won a scholarship to the Royal Academy, where she studied for five years under Walter Sickert, and won a number of medals and prizes. Between 1931-34, she studied in Paris under Lhoté and Severini, and also at the Ecole de Fresque. She held her 1st one woman exhibition in the Wertheim Gallery, Manchester in 1933. In 1935 she visited Aran where she went to live the following year. She lived on Inis Mór until 1943, exhibiting during these years in Manchester, London and Dublin, including the RHA in 1936. During the war years, she worked in London as a fire warden, but returned to Aran, publishing Stranger in Arán withThe Cuala Press in 1946, she painted in Dublin, and assisted Evie Hone in her stained glass studio. She contributed regularly to the Irish Exhibition of Living Art.A memorial exhibition was held at the Hugh Lane Gallery in 1966. Fig. 7a. Elizabeth Rivers and Letitia Hamilton at Rivers exhibition in the Dawson Gallery May 1960
  33. 33. 33 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 21. *Elizabeth Rivers (1903-1964) Shipping Cattle from the Galway Fair Wood engraving, 10 x 14cm Signed, inscribed and numbered 6/50 22. Elizabeth Rivers (1903-1964) Youth with Melodeon Wood engraving, 8.5 x 12.5cm Signed with initials
  34. 34. 34 The same can be said for Grace Henry (born in Scotland in 1868). Although she has in the past been overshadowed by her more famous husband Paul, in fact her paintings provide a refreshing insight into life on Achill Island, where they stayed for years. She had lived an itinerant lifestyle, travelling through Holland, Belgium and France before settling in London with Paul, and moving to Achill in 1910. Her work developed while on the island, starting with Whistler- inspired nocturnal scenes with muted colour and simple compositions, becoming stronger as she grew in artistic confidence into the 1920s. Her painting style became more expressive and free, and her brushstrokes grew fluid and loose, as in The Balcony which was probably painted while she travelled in France and Italy in the 1930s. It also includes an image she favoured of a seagull, depicting freedom13 . Despite being instrumental in setting up The Society of Dublin Painters in 1920 which provided exhibition space for many of the modernist painters discussed here, her reputation suffered from her separation from her husband, who omitted any reference to her in his two autobiographies. The Dublin Painters’ Society was successful however in providing a venue for young artists including Eva and Letitia Hamilton, Mainie Jellett, Nano Reid and Mary Swanzy to regularly show their work in solo and group exhibitions, and became synonymous with the best of Irish avant-garde painting in Ireland until the early 1940s, when its raison d’être was taken over by the Irish Exhibition of Living Art14 . Again, women played a key role in this progressive organisation. Harriet Kirkwood (1880-1953) joined the Society in 1922 and held her first one-woman exhibition there that year. She soon became a prominent member, being elected Hon. Secretary in 1930 and President in 1936, a position she held until 1948 when she was succeeded by Eva Hamilton. She was opposed to the narrow outlook of nationalism in so much Irish art of the time, and instead felt artists should endeavour to reflect the spirit of the times in their work15 . Certainly the progress of modernism in Ireland can be found in the establishment of this Society and traced back to a handful of strong-willed female artists. Despite a popular belief that no awareness of modernism had existed in Ireland before Mainie Jellett and Evie Hone introduced Cubism to a hostile public, in fact artists such as Braque, Gris and de Chirico had been shown in Ireland in the 1920s16 . Mary Swanzy and May Guinness are considered to be the first home- grown artists to display a modernist outlook. Guinness adopted a post-Impressionist style and later had a Cubist phase, influenced by artist and teacher André Lhote. She experimented with different methods and influences but vivid colour and later stylisation came to characterise her work. Mary Swanzy was an explorer whose travels took her to the Balkans, Czechoslovakia and Samoa. Trained in several academies in Paris, she was a European painter, not confined to nationalist boundaries. She worked mostly in oils and her abstract style preceded that of Hone and Jellett. In Le Village the careful arrangement of curved and angular forms, and skilful use of colour and light, create a sense of movement and vitality. The paint is thickly applied and the shapes are rhythmically arranged via a selection of curved lines into a balanced and attractive composition. 13 Cruikshank, J.G., Grace Henry. p.174-178. In: Irish Arts Review Yearbook (1993). Dublin. 14 Kennedy, S.B., The Society of Dublin Painters 1920-32. p.20. In: Irish Art & Modernism, Queens University Belfast (1991). 15 Ibid. p.30 16 Barrett, C. Mainie Jellett and Irish Modernism. p.167-173 In: Irish Arts Review Yearbook (1993) Vol.9
  35. 35. 35 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 23. Mary Swanzy HRHA (1882-1978) Eleanora’s House Oil on canvas, 28 x 38cm Signed and dated (19)’44 Provenance: From the collection of the artist Harriet Kirkwood. Exhibited:“Mary Swanzy Retrospective” Hugh Lane Gallery June 1968, Cat. No.36 24. Mary Swanzy HRHA (1882-1978) Flower Market Oil on canvas, 46 x 36cm Signed
  36. 36. 36 Fig. 9 . Grace HenryFig. 8 . Grace Henry (1868-1953) Girl in a village in the West of Ireland Oil on Canvas, 45.7 x 35.6cm (18 x 14”), Signed ________________________________ Grace Henry was born in comfortable surroundings to a Church of Scotland Minister, the second youngest of ten children. She lived and studied in London, Brussels and Paris where she met and married Paul Henry in 1903.They returned to England and lived in Surrey for several years, both deeply influenced by the avant garde Post Impressionist mood of the time.As a couple they spent almost a decade from 1912 living on Achill Island, a career defining period for both of them, but particularly for her husband.The seeds of separation were sown in these years, as Grace began to travel frequently to Dublin and London and to exhibit separately in Belfast in the 1920s.They founded the Dublin Painters Society with 6 other artists in 1920 but by the mid 1920s had sep- arated from each other, although they never divorced. In the 1930s she spent more of her time abroad but continued to show her work in Irish art exhibitions. During the Second World War she returned to the west of Ireland, and exhibited regularly at galleries in Dublin and at the Royal Hibernian Academy. Her bold use of paint and fluid brushstrokes simplified the composition of her paintings to its essential elements, leaving at their core the humanity and humble spirit of the figures within them, so often inspired by the noble islanders she came across on Achill.
  37. 37. 37 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 25. Grace Henry HRHA (1868-1953) The Balcony Oil on board, 28 x 35.5cm Signed Exhibited:“The Paintings of Paul and Grace Henry”The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin Nov/Dec 1991 26. Grace Henry HRHA (1868-1953) Cottages,Western Landscape Oil on canvas, 36.5 x 41cm Signed
  38. 38. 38 However, it was through Mainie Jellett that Cubism really came to the fore in Ireland. She personally identified three distinct phases to her relatively short artistic career. Firstly, studying at Westminster Technical Institute from 1917, under Walter Sickert (1860-1942) where she met Evie Hone. In 1921 they went together to Paris to learn from André Lhote (1885-1962). Jellett wrote “with Lhote I learned how to use natural forms as a starting point towards the creation of form for its own sake; to use colour with the knowledge of its great potential force, and the product work based on a knowledge of rhythmical form and organic colour”. In 1922 and throughout the summers of the decade she and Hone pursued their studies with Albert Gleizes (1881-1953), a master of Analytical Cubism. Cubism promoted intellectual engagement and marked a distinct shift in what Irish artists had produced before. Through his teaching, they experimented with a new technique of translation and rotation of purely abstract forms. During the 1920s, Jellett developed compositions from those with a single element rotated on a single axis to more complex compositions with rotations of seven and eight elements. This preference for abstract forms and intellectual engagement over aesthetic ‘prettiness’ was seen as unfeminine and unattractive. She and Hone were greeted with indifference, suspicion and even open hostility when they first showed their new Cubist style back in Ireland, with Jellett’s art in particular being described as ‘sub-human’ and a type of ‘malaria’ by fellow artist and critic George ‘AE’ Russell17 . However, Jellett’s contribution to artistic life in Ireland was not solely based on her works of art. She became an enthusiastic champion of modernism in Irish art through her writing and lectures on the subject in Dublin from 1926 onwards, and introduced an awareness of modern developments and a European sensibility to the art establishment in Ireland. Around this time her abstracts also take on the suggestion of religious representation and she contended that spirituality could best be expressed in abstract, or at least non figurative, art18 . Her Homage to Fra Angelico remains a seminal work, not just in her oeuvre but in that of Irish art, and was even admired by the Irish Times for the ‘mystic fascination’ of colour and subject19 . Hone and Jellett would remain closely associated throughout their lifetimes, although very few works of art exist which show them using each other as models or inspiration for their figure studies. After a brief spell in the 1920s living at a convent unsure of which path her life ought to take, Hone channelled her religious devotion into her art work and the latter half of her career was dominated by stained glass, facilitated by her membership of An Túr Gloine, run by Sarah Purser. She also continued making designs in oils and gouaches and in the 1940s she used Irish medieval carvings and sites as sources, re-presenting them in different media and adapting the images to her own purposes in the 20th century20 . She was a dedicated and determined character who may have been overshadowed by her association with Mainie Jellett, but her skill, modern vision and revival of the art of stained glass have made her a truly integral part of modern Irish art history. 17 Barrett, C. Mainie Jellett and Irish Modernism. p.167-173 In: Irish Arts Review Yearbook (1993) Vol.9 18 Ibid. 19 Kennedy, S.B., The Society of Dublin Painters 1920-32. p.39. In: Irish Art & Modernism, Queens University Belfast (1991). 20 Wynne, M. Irish Archaeological Inspiration of Evie Hone, p.247-253. In: Journal of Kildare Archaeological Society Vol XIV (1964-70)
  39. 39. 39 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 27. Mainie Jellett (1897-1944) Seated Female Nude Oil on board, 39 x 29cm Signed This dates from Jellett’s time under Walter Sickert at the Westminster School of Art
  40. 40. 40 28. *Mainie Jellett (1897-1944) Four Elements Gouache, 19 x 23cm Exhibited:“The Abstract Eye”The Glebe Gallery, Donegal, June-August 2009 __________________________________________________________ Mainie Jellett (born Mary Harriet Jellett) began painting in watercolours at the young age of eleven, studying under Sarah Cecilia Harrison and May Manning, before taking classes in Wimereux and Brittany, France, from the age of fourteen. In 1914 she entered the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art where she studied for three years after which she moved to the Westminster Art School in London and studied under Walter Sickert. She was awarded the Taylor Scholarship. In 1921 Jellett travelled to Paris with Evie Hone, whom she had met while at Westminster Art School, where they studied cubism under André Lhote. Jellett later remarked ‘with Lhote I learnt how to use natural forms as a starting point towards the creation of form for its own sake; to use colour with the knowledge of its great potential force, and to produce work based on a knowledge of rhythmical form and organic colour.’Yet it was to Albert Gleizes Jellett and Hone turned to further their studies with cubism. Becoming his companion workers, the two flourished under Gleizes’ guidance, and it was his influence that lead Jellett to develop her own distinctive cubist style. Jellett returned to Dublin at various intervals, during which she taught both adults and children privately at Fitzwilliam Square. In 1923 she exhibited two cubist canvases at a Dublin Painters’ exhibition but was met with hostile criticism. However she persisted, exhibiting in Paris and at the Dublin Radical Club where a number of her exhibitions were opened by W.B.Yeats. In 1928 Jellett’s work was represented in the Irish section of the exhibition of art at the Amsterdam Olympic Games. Having established her work at home, Jellett won the silver gilt medal for Decorative Painting at the 1932 AontachTailteann, and lectured at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art in the same year. Jellett is best known for her cubist works, yet throughout her career she painted both abstractly and figuratively, and was accomplished in both set design and industrial design. Máirín Allen wrote in 1942 ‘Miss Jellett has some of the qualities of an ascetic and an idealist. She has followed her own path despite opposition and misunderstanding… her influence may be one of the most important in bringing our painters back into contact with European thought and European painting.’
  41. 41. 41 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 29. Mainie Jellett (1897 - 1944) Virgin with Angels Gouache, 43.5 x 33cm Signed and dated 1930 Exhibited:“Mainie Jellett Retrospective” Exhibition, the Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin, July - Oct 1962, Catalogue. No. 100
  42. 42. 42 Fig. 10.a Mainie Jellett “Abstract Composition” (1922) Fig. 10 Dublin Painter’s Gallery joint Jellett-Hone Exhibition June 1924. Showing Fig 10a hanging Fig. 11 Mainie Jellett
  43. 43. 43 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 30. Mainie Jellett (1897-1944) Composition (c.1922) Oil on canvas, 64 x 49.5cm Exhibited: “Analysing Cubism” Exhibition IMMA;The Crawford Gallery; F.E. McWilliam Gallery 2013
  44. 44. 44 Fig. 12. Evie Hone in her studio Fig. 13. Evie Hone by Norah McGuinness __________________________________________________________ Evie Hone was born in Dublin. In 1918, she attended classes at Westminster under Walter Sickert (1860-1942), after which she went to Bernard Meninsky, who in 1920, advised her to study in Paris.The artist was joined there by Mainie Jellett who was to become a life long friend.They worked first under André Lhote and later in 1921 they persuaded Gleizes to take them on as pupils, where they worked until 1931. In 1924 with Mainie Jellett, Hone exhibited at the Dublin Painters Gallery. In 1933 she began to work in stained glass, getting her first commission for Ardcarne near Boyle in 1934. She worked with AnTur Gloine until 1943. Hone’s early paintings, of the period when she was exploring Cubism, are often difficult to distinguish from those of Mainie Jellett, but she had a more committed sense of colour. In 1943, she was a founder member of the Irish exhibition of Living Art.A memorial exhibition of her work was held in Dublin in 1958.
  45. 45. 45 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 31. Evie Hone HRHA (1894-1955)  Dianthus (1930) Oil on board, 60 x 33cm Signed and dated 1930 Exhibited:“The Moderns” Exhibition IMMA, Oct 2010/ Feb 2011, Cat. No.35;“ Analysing Cubism” Exhibition IMMA;The Crawford Gallery; F.E. McWilliam Gallery 2013
  46. 46. 46 Recent commentators have suggested that Jellett, rather than being inspired and spurred on by the formative male influences in her life, was rather held back and forced into a narrow analytical style which didn’t entirely suit her. However, she tackled what she termed the ‘walls of prejudice’ 21 head on and persevered in her desire to drag Ireland into the modern era. In 1943 she was instrumental in organising the first Irish Exhibition of Living Art, a reaction to the strictures of the “outdated” Royal Hibernian Academy, and was its first president. Unfortunately she became ill that year and didn’t live long enough to see the benefits of her labour, or to allow her own art to progress and develop further. Interestingly the Irish Exhibition of Art disbanded in 1987, having, in the view of its members, served its purpose, and the RHA once again played a significant but updated role22 . The mantle of modernism was also taken up by Norah McGuinness (1901-1980), one of Northern Ireland’s most accomplished artists. Educated in Derry and Dublin, her visits to London led her to the discovery of Impressionism and later Cubism. In 1929 after her marriage broke up, she was encouraged by Mainie Jellett to go to Paris and study with André Lhote which she did for two years, during which time her style changed considerably. She developed her skill with colour and composition, moving away from the academic realist tradition she first studied. Pure abstraction didn’t interest her and made reference to her “dependence on things seen, the visual things, the things experienced through nature”23 . She also designed book covers, was a designer and window dresser for the Brown Thomas department store and illustrated books – including W.B. Yeats’s Stories of Red Hanrahan and the Secret Rose of which he praised the “powerful simplicity”. She also played a vital role in the art establishment in Ireland as the President of the Irish Exhibition of Living Art from 1944 to 1970, stepping into Mainie Jellett’s formidable shoes. 21 Finucane, P. and Connolly, M. Journeys through Line and Colour, p.91, University of Limerick (2010) 22 Ulster Academy of Arts 1930 – 1950 http://www.royalulsteracademy.org/the-academy/our-history/1930-1950 [accessed 1st May 2014] 23 Norah McGuinness, interview with Caroline Walsh. In: The Irish Times (May 1, 1976)
  47. 47. 47 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 33. Norah Mc Guinness HRHA (1901-1980) Mortons Elf Watercolour and ink, 24 x 20cm Signed 32. *Norah Mc Guinness HRHA (1901-1980) Girl and Boy on Headland (Illustration) Indian ink, 27 x 17.5cm Signed Fig. 14 Book illustration by Norah McGuin- ness for W.B.Yeats. Stories of Red Hanrahan and the Secret Rose (1927)
  48. 48. 48 Fig. 16. Norah McGuinness Fig. 17. BrownThomas window display designed by Norah McGuinness. Norah worked 3 days a week from the 1940’s to the 1970’s doing these displays. Fig. 15. Norah McGuinness and Elizabeth Rivers doing BrownThomas window __________________________________________________________ Derry born artist Norah McGuinness won a three year scholarship to study at the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin at the age of 18, where she was taught by Harry Clarke, PatrickTuohy and Oswald Reeves before moving to London to study at the Chelsea School of Art. In 1923 she won an RDS medal and the following year exhibited for the first time at the RHA. During these years McGuinness supported herself by designing sets and costumes for the Abbey and Peacock theatres and illustrated books. Under the advice of Mainie Jellett she travelled to Paris to study for a period under Andre Lhote. In 1957 she was elected an Honorary member of the RHA but resigned in 1969.A founding mem- ber of the Irish Exhibition of Living Art, she served as president from 1944 to 1971. McGuinness exhibited regularly at the Dawson andTaylor Galleries as well as in London, Paris and NewYork. She also represented Ireland at the 1950Venice Biennale with Nano Reid.A retrospective of her work was held atTrinity College Dublin in 1968 where she was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1973. Her work can be found in the National Gallery of Ireland, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery, Ulster Museum and Crawford Gallery
  49. 49. 49 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 34. Norah McGuinness HRHA (1901-1980) The Kitchen Window Oil on canvas, 46.5 x 61cm Signed and dated (19)’59 Exhibited: IELA 1959, Cat. No.78
  50. 50. 50 35. Nano Reid (1900 - 1981) Island Dwellers Oil on canvas, 35 x 52.5cm Signed Together with Nano Reid, McGuinness represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 1950, a considerable honour for any artist as it was the first Biennale at which Ireland had an entry, but especially mentionable for two female modern artists to be given such a platform on the world stage, shaping their nation’s cultural identity. Each artist showed 12 works and in Italy at least, the response was positive – the Italian President even bought McGuinness’s painting ‘The Black Church’ 24 . Her exhibiting partner Nano Reid was an independent Modernist who prided herself on her individualism and favoured the Expressionist painting of Soutine and the Argentinian Berni, rather than the Cubism of her Irish contemporaries while studying in Paris. The fact that Reid was a female artist did not escape mention in the 1950s, with James White writing in the Biennale catalogue that critics “were amazed to learn that Reid was a woman artist” because of her strongly Expressionist style25 . Along with Noreen Rice, she was closely associated with Gerard Dillon but resented being called an abstract artist: “I don’t like pure abstraction, just as I don’t like pure representation” 26 . 24 J. Duignam, http://www.womensmuseumofireland.ie/articles/the-contribution-of-irish-women-artists-at-the-venice biennale-1950 [accessed 29th April 2014] 25 ibid 26 Artist and Loan Wolf: The Artist Talks to Marion Fitzgerald. In: The Irish Times (14 April 1969)
  51. 51. 51 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 36. Nano Reid (1900-1981) Seanachaí Oil on canvas, 50.5 x 40.5cm Signed
  52. 52. 52 37. *Nano Reid (1900-1981) Tommy Wallace Oil on canvas laid on board, 40.6 x 30.5cm Signed Exhibited:“Nano Reid Retrospective” Exhibition, Hugh Lane Gallery and Ulster Museum 1976, Cat. No.1 On seeing this work much later in her life the artist commented “that she was trying to depict the hunger and depression in the young lad and the hopeless prospects that the future held out for him”. She went on to say “Mrs McCullen, I never realised I painted as well as that!” _______________________________________________________ Born in Drogheda Co. Louth, Nano Reid trained at the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin, where she studied under Sean Keating and Harry Clarke.Afterwards she travelled to Paris, en- rolling at the Académie de la Grande Chaumiére along with other Irish artists such as Kathleen Fox. Reid then attended the Central School in London, studying under Bernard Meninsky. Her first solo exhibition was held at the Dublin Painters Gallery in 1934.After returning to Ireland, Reid spent the rest of her life in Drogheda, concentrating on painting aspects of local life and landscapes. However, her paintings are in no way bound by a sense of locality, but are accom- plished essays in painterly abstraction. By 1942, she had established a reputation for her richness of invention, with economy of means, and her watercolour landscapes were compared to those of Raol Dufy. She exhibited at the RHA during the 1930s; but, from 1943, generally exhibited with the IELA, the Dublin Painters and later with the Independent Artists. She represented Ireland with Norah McGuinness at the Venice Biennale in 1950. Fig. 18. Nano Reid
  53. 53. 53 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 38. *Nano Reid (1900-1981) Cat on a Barrel Oil on board, 26 x 64cm Signed Exhibited:“Nano Reid & Gerard Dillon Exhibition”The Highlanes Gallery and the F.E. McWilliam Gallery 2010 39. Nano Reid RHA (1900-1981) Workmen on Tin Roof Oil on board, 44.5 x 60cm Signed
  54. 54. 54 Fig. 19. Gretta Bowen ____________________________________ The mother of George Campbell, Bowen took up painting shortly before her seventieth birthday, using materials belonging to her son,Arthur. In 1955 the Council for the Encourage- ment of Music and the Arts - the forerunner of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland - or- ganised her first solo exhibition.“Rhythm and movement are the characteristics of her work... and whatever she paints conveys a feeling of happiness, of brightness, of delight in life” -The Times 29th December 1955. Other solo exhibitions followed in Belfast and Dublin between the1960s and 1980s. ‘She ignored conventional linear perspective in favour of horizontal arrangements reminis- cent of medieval manuscripts and tapestries. She tended not to mix her colours, taking them straight from the tube and drawing directly with the brush. Her subject was everyday life, enhanced by childhood memory. No time for introspection here; her subjects are living life rather than contemplating it.’
  55. 55. 55 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 40. *Gretta Bowen (1880-1981) The Fun Fair (The Carnival) Oil on board, 50.8 x 63.5cm Signed, inscribed ‘Carnival’ verso Exhibited: RHA 1972, Cat. No. 97 41. Gretta Bowen A Quiet Sunday near the Sea Oil on board, 50 x 60cm Signed
  56. 56. 56 Moving into the latter half of the twentieth century, Gretta Bowen (1880-1981) is an interesting case as she lived for almost the entire scope of this exhibition, yet only picked up a paintbrush at the age of 70 and painted until the end of her long life. Her three sons Arthur, George and Stanley from her late husband Matthew Campbell were all renowned artists but wary of trading on their success, she went by her maiden name. She favoured using blocks of bright colour, straight from the tube directly onto the canvas. Her richly coloured paintings have a mood of bustling activity and movement and proved very popular both in Ireland and abroad in London, New York and Washington. The Irish Times praised her as being ‘like Lowry in an Irish setting’27 as she painted familiar subjects with a joyful, naïve style unlike any other female artist practising in Ireland at this time. During the course of the century in question life changed dramatically for women. By the mid 20th century, women were an integral part of the paid workforce and it became more acceptable for women to promote and sell their art. Individually they could achieve more with fewer barriers in their way, while collectively, women occupied pivotal roles in the leading artistic institutions of the day. They were crusaders for a fresh approach to Irish art, creating a strong impetus towards the modern movement in 20th century Ireland, which would have been much weaker without them. As their male contemporaries concentrated on reviving and maintaining a strong nationalist art, Irish women artists acted as a counter-balance, and pursued modern ideas and teachings in a European setting, unrestricted by national boundaries. Their own interpretation of experiences in Ireland were developed through the prism of a Continental, modernist practice of art, to produce the distinctive results we witness and celebrate here. These artists constitute a remarkable cross-section of women, individuals who were influential and inspirational in many fields. Their collective spirit, tenacity and skill allowed them to overcome any potential difficulties which arose from being women artists, producing work which stands the test of time. Far from being confined by their gender, as Brian Fallon puts it, “they were, in fact, Ireland’s emancipated generation”28 . Claire Dalton May 2014 27 Finucane, P. and Connolly, M. Journeys through Line and Colour, p.10, University of Limerick (2010) 28 Fallon, B. http://www.irishmeninparis.org/Artists/evie-hone-mainie-jellett
  57. 57. 57 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 42. Muriel Brandt RHA (1909 - 1981) Christmas Eve Oil on board, 43 x 29cm Signed Exhibited:“Muriel Brandt” Exhibition,The Dawson Gallery November 1963 ___________________________________ Born in Belfast Muriel Brandt studied at the Belfast College of Art and won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in London where she studied for three years. Brandt’s first major commission was seven paintings for the Church of the Franciscan Friars on Merchant’s Quay in Dublin, the sketch for which is now housed in the National Gallery of Ireland. Brandt’s forty year long association with the Royal Hibernian Academy began in 1938, and in 1948 she was appointed an associate. In 1961 she became a full member. Brandt’s skill of effortlessly capturing likeness was commented on by fellow painter James Nolan RHA, “she was a compulsive draughtsman and sketched like lightning, achieving in minutes those likenesses of her contemporaries.”
  58. 58. 58 Fig. 20.William Orpen and some of his students including Margaret Crilley Fig. 21. Group at “Young Irish Artists Exhibition 1903” includ- ing Frances Beckett, Dorothy Elvery, Lily Williams, Beatrice Elvery and Estella Solomons. Orpen’s Pupils Although William Orpen only came over to teach for a couple of weeks each term his influence on Irish Art lasted well into the 1950’s . He was a breath of fresh air - Beatrice Elvery in her book “Today we will only gossip” describes him :- “As a teacher Orpen brought about a revolution in the life-class. The students were allowed to talk and smoke. As it was almost impossible to get a female model for the nude in Dublin he brought girl models from London. Some of them added much to the social life of the bohemian element in the city”.
  59. 59. 59 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 43. Estella Solomons HRHA (1882-1968) Parknasilla, 1911 Oil on board, 26.6 x 36.8cm Inscribed with title and dated July 1911 verso Exhibited:“Estella Solomons” Exhibition, Crawford Gallery 1986 Shades of light Exhibition,The Hunt Museum, Limerick, June - Oct ‘05 44. Estella Solomons HRHA (1882-1968) Hayfield Near Rush Oil on board, 30.5 x 40.5cm Exhibited:“Estella Solomons” Exhibition, Crawford Gallery 1986 Shades of light Exhibition,The Hunt Museum, Limerick, June - Oct ‘05
  60. 60. 60 Fig. 22. Estella Solomons painting plein air Shankhill 1930 Fig. 23. Estella Solomons with her portrait of Jack B.Yeats Born in Dublin in 1882. Estella attended the Royal Hibernian Academy Schools under Walter Osborne, and entered the Metropolitan School of Art, where she became a pupil of William Orpen. In 1906, she visited the Rembrandt tercentenary exhibition in Amsterdam, which was a significant event for her. Despite being taught by William Orpen, she was never a formula paint- er and painted by inclination and sympathy, not by chequebook. She abandoned the Old-Mas- terish and academician’s style of working because it weighed her feminine love of spontaneity. Estella was no publicist, her talent was a refined, rather private one exercised more for her own pleasure than for the public’s.
  61. 61. 61 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 45. *Estella Solomons HRHA (1882-1968) Afternoon Tea Oil on canvas, 51 x 59cm Exhibited: Estella Solomoms ExhibibitionThe Crawford Gallery 1986 46. Estella Solomons HRHA (1882-1968) Seamus Reading in Roof Garden Oil on board, 13 x 16cm This is a picture of the artist’s husband, the poet and writer Seamus O’Sullivan, probably painted in the roof garden above her studios in Great Brunswick Street.
  62. 62. 62 47. *Louise Jacobs ARCA (1880 - 1946) Portrait of Estella Solomons Pencil, 29 x 20.5cm Signed with initials and dated 1908 Fig. 24. Estella Solomons “Self Portrait” ___________________________________ Louise Jacobs was Estella’s first cousin and life long friend. She was a suffragette artist attached to the “Suffrage Atelier” . The Atelier, a group of artists who used art to promote theVotes for Women campaign, was founded in London in February 1909, the aim being ‘to encourage Artists to forward the Women’s Movement, and particularly the Enfranchisement of Women, by means of pictorial publications.  Estella and Louise went on a painting trip together to Holland in 1911 of which there are many amusing cartoons in a family collection . Louise is yet another woman who tends just to be a footnote as little appears to have been written about her studies and her art .Together with Estella’s other friend Mary Duncan, all three had a very successful joint exhibition at the Arlington Galleries, London in 1935 which received very favourable reviews.
  63. 63. 63 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 Fig. 25. Frances (Cissie) Beckett Portrait of Estella Solomons From the Niland Collection, Sligo ___________________________________ Know as Cissie she was Samuel Beckett’s Aunt. She studied at the Metropolitan School of Art with the Beatrice Elvery , Lily Williams and Estella Solomons and went to Paris in 1904 with the Elvery sisters and Solomons to take life classes at Colarossi’s. She married “The Boss” Sinclair an antique and art dealer friend of Orpen’s and they entertained painters and the literati at their home at Baily in Howth.After showing much promise she painted little after she got married. 
  64. 64. 64 48. *Estella Solomons HRHA (1882-1968) Winter at Rathfarnham Oil on canvas, 35.5 x 30.5cm Exhibited: Estella Solomoms ExhibibitionThe Crawford Gallery 1986
  65. 65. 65 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 Fig. 26. Dorothy Elvery in front of her work at “Young Irish Artists Exhibition 1905” Fig. 27. Dorothy Kay (née Elvery) “Self Portrait” (1919) Fig 26 Dorothy Kay (nee Elvery) (1886 - 1964) The lesser known of the Elvery sisters aged 14 Dorothy commenced her studies at the Metropolitan School of art and the Royal Hibernian Schools where she won prizes including the Taylor Scholarship in 1904.Along with her sister Beatrice , Cissie Beckett and Estella Solomons she went to Paris to take life classes at Colarossi’s. In 1905 she exhibited at the “Young Irish Artists” exhibition at Leinster Hall , Dublin. She got married to Dr Kay, who she had met through her brother Philip who was a fellow student at the Royal College of Surgeons, in 1910 and emigrated with him to Port Elizabeth in South Africia where she continued to paint but her influence on the Irish Art scene was reduced to occasional exhibits at the RHA .
  66. 66. 66 __________________________________________ Beatrice Glenavy began her studies at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art along with her sister Dorothy under William Orpen. She won the Queen’s Prize for drawing (1900) and theTaylor Art Scholarship (1901) which enabled her to travel to Paris for further studies. On her return to Dublin Glenavy joined Sarah Purser’s glass studio AnTur Gloine for a time before moving to London where she studied atThe Slade School of Art under Wilson Steer and HenryTonks. Glenavy was elected an RHA member in 1934, where she had been exhibiting for over 30 years and continued to do so up until the year of her death. During her lifetime she also exhibited at the Leinster Lecture Hall,Victor Wadding- ton Galleries (solo show in 1955), Ritchie Hendriks Gallery, Leicester Galleries in London, the Royal Academy and the Royal Scottish Academy. Her work can be found in the collections of the National Gallery of Ireland, Crawford Municipal Gallery, Ulster Museum, Dublin City Gallery,The Hugh Lane and the Office of Public Works. Fig. 28. Beatrice Glenavy
  67. 67. 67 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 49. Lady Beatrice Glenavy (1881-1970) Mother and Child Oil on canvas, 61 x 41cm Signed with monogram Provenance: Sir John Purser - Griffith Exhibited:“Irish Women Artists Exhibition”, National Gallery of Ireland, 1987, Cat. No. 114
  68. 68. 68 50.*Lady Beatrice Glenavy RHA (1881-1970) Moonlight Owl Oil on canvas, 46 x 37 Signed with monogram Exhibited: RHA 1956, Cat. No.73
  69. 69. 69 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 51. Lady Beatrice Glenavy RHA (1881-1970) Unicorn Oil on board, 41 x 51cm Signed with monogram Exhibited: IELA 1950, Cat. No.22 52. Lady Beatrice Glenavy RHA (1881-1970) Sailors Return Oil on canvas, 25.5 x 35.5cm Signed with monogram Exhibited: RHA 1942, Cat. No.99 N.F.S
  70. 70. 70 Fig. 29.“Grace Gifford” by Sir William Orpen Grace Gifford (1888 - 1955) Grace Gifford, grand-niece of the painter Sir Frederick Burton , was born in Dublin into a legal family. She was a pupil of Orpen’s at the Metropolitan School of Art and he painted several portraits of her (See Irish Arts ReviewVol 31 No. 2 P114). She excelled at drawing and was later to study atThe Slade in London 1907 - 08. On returning to Dublin she metThomas McDonagh , who was to later marry her sister Muriel ,and Patrick Pearse and joined Inghinidhe na hÉireann along with Maud Gonne. She did illustrations for various newspapers and journals and produced artwork for the militant suffrage organisation, the Irish Wom- en’s Franchise league. In December 1915 she became engaged to the editor of the Irish Review Joseph Plunkett soon after which she converted to catholicism.They were scheduled to get married on Easter Sunday 1916 but the rising prevented this and they got married in Kilmainham Jail on 4th May hours before his execution. Her financial situation was always precarious. She was appointed to the Sinn Fein executive in October 1917 and used her skills as an artist to aid the nationalist cause producing banners and posters. She was anti-treaty and was imprisoned on several occassions. She is best remembered for her cartoons which Hilary Pyle described “capturing in pen the essence of the anecdotal wit and literary bavardage of the Irish Renaissance”. For further information see Comedy’s IIl-fated Muse by Hilary Pyle IARVol 31 No.2 June/August 2014
  71. 71. 71 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 54. *Grace Gifford (1888 - 1955) The Shadow of a Gunman by Sean O’Casey (First produced April 12th 1923)Tommy Owens played by Michael F. Dolan Printed book illustration limited to 200 copies 53. *Grace Gifford (1888 - 1955) First Night at the Abbey Printed book illustration limited to 200 copies
  72. 72. 72 Fig. 30. Margaret Clarke and her son David Fig. 31. Margaret Clarke Self Portrait __________________________________ Margaret Clarke was born and educated in Newry. In 1906 she was awarded a scholarship to the DMSA, where she became one of Orpen’s star pupils, and won many prizes. Her fellow students included Beatrice Glenavy, James Sleator, Kathleen Fox, Leo Whelan, PatrickTuohy and Harry Clarke, whom she married in 1915. Margaret excelled at portrait painting. Her dispas- sionate, searching eye enabled her to reveal the deep nature, the “true self” of the sitter, even when painting her own family. She was commissioned to paint many notable figures of the times, including Eamon DeValera, Dr. John Charles McQuaid and Dermod O’Brien (President of the RHA). Strong-minded and independent, she particularly enjoyed the artistic and intellectual free- dom of genre painting such as “The Ghost Sonate” (Ulster Museum)’ based on a play by Strind- berg, or “Bathtime at the Creche” (National Gallery). Her outstanding ability as a draughtswom- an can be appreciated in all her work. Like so many women artists she had to combine devotion to her career with the care of her family, and after Harry’s death, with much of the responsibility for the studios on a greatly reduced income. Genre paintings became a luxury rarely affordable. In later life she loved to paint delightful, simple vases of flowers or scenes from the Wicklow hills. She died in Dublin in 1961. Fiana Griffin
  73. 73. 73 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 55. Margaret Clarke RHA (1888-1961) David Oil on canvas, 56 x 43.25cm Provenance:The artist’s family
  74. 74. 74 56. Kathleen Quigley (1888-1981) Spring Etching, 9 x 9cm Signed and dated 1927 Prov. From the Collection of Dermod O’Brien PRHA _________________________________ Born in Dublin Quigley’s family travelled extensively before they settled again in Dublin in 1906.She attended the Central School of Arts and Crafts, London and the Metropolitan School of Art Dublin with her sister Ethel. She exhibited with the Arts and Crafts Society of Ireland and the Royal Hibernian Academy. She emigrated to South Africa in 1934 where she practised as a stained glass artist in Johannesburg for twenty-five years making over 100 windows there for the city and other parts of the world.
  75. 75. 75 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 57. *Lily Williams ARHA (1874-1940) Cottage at Ticknock, Dundrum Oil on canvas laid on board, 15 x 22.75cm Signed with monogram ___________________________________ Dublin born Lily Williams was first taught by May Manning and later went on to study under Orpen at the Metropolitan School of Art, where her contemporaries included Estella Solo- mons, Beatrice Glenavy and Cissie Beckett.Well known for her Republican sympathies she fell out with her family at the time of the Rising. Her portrait of Arthur Griffith is in the Hugh Lane Gallery collection.
  76. 76. 76 58. Caroline Scally (1886-1973) 140th Anniversary ‘1798 commemorations’ at Donnard, Co.Wicklow Oil on board, 32 x 40.5cm ___________________________________ Caroline Scally was born in Dun Laoghaire and studied at the Metropolitan School of Art with Sean Keating and James Sinton Sleator under William Orpen.Awarded theTaylor Art Scholar- ship in 1911 she headed for Paris and then on to Rome. She held her first one-woman show at The Dublin Painters Gallery in 1930 and was later to become President of the Dublin Painters Society in 1962. She exhibited at the first IELA exhibition in 1943 and exhibited regularly at the RHA and with the watercolour Society of Ireland becoming a committee member in 1958.
  77. 77. 77 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 59. *Caroline Scally (1886-1973) Cats in the Garden Watercolour, 52 x 34cm Signed Exhibited:Watercolour Society of Ireland 1951, Cat. No.105;“Caroline Scally Exhibition”, Dublin Painters Gallery, 1952 Cat No.28 Literature: Patricia Butler “History ofThe Watercolour Society of Ireland”, illustrated p272 Patricia Butler described this work “Caroline Scally’s feel for quirky details, combined with her dexterity when employing watercolour and her obvious sense of colour and lyricism is well expressed in her watercolour entitled Cats in the garden.”
  78. 78. 78 Fig. 32. Kathleen Mackie painting in Donegal 1930s Fig. 33. Kathleen Mackie in front of her work at Irish Women Artist Exhibition National Gallery Dublin 1987 ________________________________ Kathleen Isabella Mackie was born in Belfast where she attended the School of Art from 1918. She moved to the Royal Academy Schools in London in 1921 after winning various awards and there she came under the influence of well known painters George Clausen, Sir Gerald Kelly and Sir William Orpen. Her love of Donegal brought her into contact with fellow artists Frank Egginton and they went on many painting expeditions together. In 1936 she was appointed ARUA. She exhibited regularly at the RHA, RUA and the watercolour Society of Ireland.
  79. 79. 79 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 60. Kathleen Mackie ARUA (1899-1996) Standing Female Nude Oil on canvas, 76 x 50.5cm Painted at the Royal Academy Schools
  80. 80. 80 61. Eileen Murray (1885-1962) Return from Market,Achill Oil on card, 17 x 24cm Signed with monogram, inscribed “Achill” and dated Nov (19)’60 ___________________________________ Eileen Murray was born inTemplemore Co. Cork. Educated privately, she studied paint- ing with Stanhope Forbes at Newlyn, Cornwall and was there with Laura Knight. She married Major Stewart Murray in 1908 and lived with him in India where she had considerable success with her painting, winning many medals. Due to her husband’s father tragically drowning in Lough Bawn in 1920, she moved home to Mosstown House, Kenagh, Co. Longford. Her husband died shortly afterwards in 1922 leaving Eileen to run the 500 acre estate. Her main exhibition period seems to have been the 1920s when she exhibited regularly at the RHA, Dublin Sketching Club and the Belfast Art Society. Achill subjects seem to have been her favourite theme. Her pictures are included in the Ulster Museum and the Garter Lane Gallery in Waterford. She continued to live and work at Mosstown until she moved to Killiney in 1947 where she remained until she died in 1962 with many painting trips to Achill, Spain, Italy and Canada in between.
  81. 81. 81 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 62. Eileen Reid (1894-1981) Venice Oil on canvas, 46 x 35.5cm Signed under her maiden name ‘Oulton’ and dated 1925 verso ___________________________________ Eileen Reid lived at 19 Upper Mount Street all her life, she later set off for London and stud- ied under Orpen at the Royal Academy Schools in London. An exhibition of her works took place at the Cynthia O’Connor Gallery in 1984. In 1923 she married Hugh Reid who worked in the colonial service and died, aged only thirty, a few months later on route to Nigeria. This tragedy altered Eileen’s life and her future role became more administrative serving as secretary of the Watercolour Society of Ireland for thirty years.
  82. 82. 82 ____________________________________ Mary Swanzy took classes at the RHA and Metropolitan School of Art in her home town of Dublin before travelling to Paris to work in various artists’ studios.Although mainly based in Dublin in her early career, she spent much of her time travelling around Eastern Europe and North America. In 1926 she moved to London but continued to show in Ireland at the Dawson Gallery and Royal Hibernian Academy, and in 1949 was elected an Honorary Member of the RHA. Fig. 34. Mary Swanzy Fig. 35. Mary Swanzy at her exhibition at the Dawson Gallery March 1974 Dublin Painters Society The 1920’s saw the establishment of the Dublin Painters’ Society, whose founding members included Grace Henry, Mary Swanzy and Letitia Hamilton. The Society was soon to be dominated by women artists, so much so that by the Spring of 1935, as Dr. S.B. Kennedy points out, an Irish Times reviewer noted that this was “the first time there was a women artist’s exhibition, as this show is virtually taken to be”. In 1942 the critic Stephen Rynne described the group as “the liveliest of the living painters, the explorers, the experimentalists”.
  83. 83. 83 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 63. Mary Swanzy HRHA (1882 - 1978) Le Village Oil on canvas, 61 x 76cm Signed Exhibited:“Analysing Cubism”Travelling Exhibition IMMA,The Crawford Gallery, F.E. McWilliam Gallery 2013 64. Mary Swanzy HRHA (1882 - 1978) Cubist Landscape oil on Canvas, 40.7 x 50.8 Provenance:The Artist’s family
  84. 84. 84 65. Letitia Marion Hamilton RHA (1878-1964) A Fair Day, Clifden Oil on canvas, 50 x 61cm Signed with initials Originally from Co. Meath, Letitia Hamilton studied at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art where she was taught by William Orpen, continuing her studies at the Slade School of Art in London and with Frank Brangwyn. She exhibited at the RHA from 1909, and was elected a member in 1944. In the 1920s she exhibited a number of times at the Paris Salon as well as at the Goupil Gallery,Walker Gallery, International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers, Royal Society of British Artist’s and Scottish Society of Women Artist in Edinburgh. In 1945 Hamilton had a solo show atVictor Waddington Galleries in Dub- lin, and another in 1948, the same year that she won a bronze medal at the Olympic Games art section in London. She went on to have three solo shows at the Dawson Gallery in the following years. Ham- ilton’s work can be found in major collections such as the National Gallery of Ireland, Ulster Museum, Crawford Gallery, Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery, Office of Public Works,VHI,Wesley College and City Gallery of Art in Limerick.
  85. 85. 85 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 66. Letitia Marion Hamilton RHA (1878-1964) An Irish Point-to-Point Oil on card, 19.5 x 25.5cm Signed with initials 67. Letitia Marion Hamilton RHA (1878-1964) The Meath Point-to-Point Oil on board, 12 x 17cm Signed with initials
  86. 86. 86 68. Mainie Jellett (1897-1944) Two Elements Oil on canvas, 91.5 x 71cm Exhibited: Mainie Jellett Retrospective Dec 1991/ March 1992, Irish Museum of Modern Art
  87. 87. 87 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 69. Mainie Jellett (1897-1944) Abstract Composition Oil on canvas, 92 x 73cm Signed Exhibited:“Analysing Cubism”Travelling Exhibition IMMA,The Crawford Gallery, F.E. McWilliam Gallery 2013
  88. 88. 88 __________________________________ Homage to Fra Angelico is a major work in the oeuvre of Mainie Jellett, Exhibited at a solo exhibition at the Society of Dublin Painters in 1928, the work was warmly received by the critics of the IrishTimes and the Irish Statesman, two publications which had only five years earlier lambasted Jellett for her abstract and seemingly incomprehensible painting,‘Deco- ration’, (1923, National Gallery of Ireland).The work represents a turning point in Jellett’s reputation and to some extent her practice. In it she moves from an extreme abstraction to the use of more recognisable figurative elements. Homage pays tribute to the work of the early Renaissance artist Fra Angelico, whose paintings, which were reproduced in religious journals, were well known in Ireland. Jellett schematises the underlying forms and shapes of Fra Angelico’s design of his altarpiece, the Coronation of theVirgin (c. 1435, Uffizi), editing out unnecessary detail.The curved form of the composition derives directly from the framing of Fra Angelico’s painting. In addition Jellett draws on the work’s dominant colours and tones using a similar neutral background with yellows, blues and reds marking the prominent components in the painting.Through the language of cubism she transforms a 15th century religious artwork into a modern ex- pression of spirituality. In doing so she convinced many of her contemporaries in Ireland of the value and relevance of modern art.As Riann Coulter has discussed Jellett’s choice of the Virgin as a subject was a way of linking modern art to the sensibilities of the predominantly Roman Catholic public of Free State Ireland.The theme of the Coronation of theVirgin is found in Gothic and early Renaissance art and represents Mary being crowned Queen of Heaven.The story, which is recounted in the bible, was popularised in the 13th century Golden Legend. For Jellett such a theme evoked a period of widespread devotion in which the artwork played a central role. Homage to Fra Angelico relates closely to a work produced by Albert Gleizes, Jellett’s friend and mentor, who completed a painting with a similar composition in 1927. Gleizes’s work was intended to be part of a scheme of murals for a church at Serrieres close to where he had established a commune of artists on the banks of the Rhone. In the end the murals were never installed. Jellett, who visited Gleizes and who corresponded regularly with him knew of the project. Both artists began in this period to make explicit reference to religious themes.According to Gleizes’s biographer, Peter Brooke, the French artist’s version of the Coronation of theVirgin owed a great deal to Jellett. Homage to Fra Angelico belonged to the academic Eileen MacCarvill who was a great champion of Jellett’s work after the artist’s early death in 1944. Jellett’s work was seen to encapsulate the core values of spirituality and universality which her particular form of cubism championed and which challenged what the artist saw as the superficiality of contemporary academic and realist art. Dr. Róisín Kennedy
  89. 89. 89 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 70. Mainie Jellett (1897-1944) Homage to Fra Angelico Oil on canvas, 183 x 152.5cms
  90. 90. 90 71. Evie Hone HRHA (1894-1955) Abstract Composition Pochoir, 30.5 x 22cm Signed Exhibited:“The Abstract Eye”,The Glebe Gallery, Donegal, June-August 2009 72. Evie Hone HRHA (1894-1955) Abstract Composition Gouache, 24 x 14cm Signed Exhibited:“Analysing Cubism” Exhibition IMMA; The Crawford Gallery; F.E. McWilliam Gallery 2013
  91. 91. 91 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 73. Evie Hone HRHA (1894-1955) Abstract Composition Oil on canvas, 100 x 65cm Signed and dated 1928 Exhibited:“The Moderns” Exhibition IMMA, Oct 2010/ Feb 2011 “Analysing Cubism” Exhibition IMMA;The Crawford Gallery; F.E. McWilliam Gallery 2013
  92. 92. 92 74. *May Guinness (1863-1955) La Parisienne Oil on board, 38 x 32cm Exhibited: The French Connection,The Ava Gallery, The Hunt Museum 2010 ___________________________________ Dublin born artist May Guinness began a long association with the Watercolour Society of Ireland in 1892. Just two years after she began exhibiting there she moved to Newlyn, Cornwall, for a period with Mildred Anne Butler where she studied under Norman Garstin. Guinness broadened her horizons further in 1902 when she visited Florence to make sketches, and later made trips to Brittany where she painted en plein air during the summer, spending winters studying under André Lhote in Paris, where she had a solo show at GalerieVisconti in 1925. During World War II Guin- ness worked as a nurse for the French Army, and for which she was awarded the Croix de Guerre. When the war ended she was again in a position to focus her attention on painting, and had a solo show atVictor Waddington Galleries in Dublin in 1946. It is claimed that although Guinness began exhibiting with the RHA in 1897 and continued to do so until 1911, an unspecified dispute meant that she refused to exhibit there in subsequent years.
  93. 93. 93 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 75. May Guinness (1863-1955) Lady by Balcony Oil on board, 30.5 x 25.5cm Exhibited:“The Moderns” Exhibition IMMA, Oct 2010/ Feb 2011
  94. 94. 94 76. *Lilian Lucy Davidson ARHA (1879-1954) Night at Claddagh (circa 1933) Oil on hard board, 21.5 x 22.8 cm Signed with monogram. Provenance:Acquired directly from the artist AnneYeats, who had taken art lessons with Davidson Exhibited: RHA Dublin, 1933 Cat. No 33; Irish Women Artists Exhibition, National Gallery of Ireland, 1983, Cat. No 94 ___________________________________ Lilian Davison was born in Bray Co.Wicklow and attended the Metropolitan School of Art Dublin from the age of sixteen and won prizes there in 1895, 1896 and in 1897 won the RDS Scholar- ship which carried a free studentship, it didn’t come too soon as that was the year of her father’s death. Although not in very buoyant financial circumstances she travelled extensively and did so for most of her life. She painted landscapes in Belgium and Switzerland, besides various parts of Ireland. She was a regular contributor to the Watercolour Society,The Dublin Painters Society and the Munster Fine Art Club, and was part of an interesting circle being friendly with Jack Yeats whom she painted and the circle around the Gate theatre for which she wrote plays under the pseudonym of Ulick Burke, her most famous play Bride was directed in the Gate by Hilton Edwards and designed by Michael McLiammoir. She was certainly aware of the works of Honore Daumier and Jean Francois Millet and used the same proto type of humanity for important works depicting the Irish Peasant. Lillian Davidson portrayed the Claddagh, the Irish-speaking district of Galway, at a time when she was involved with theTorchTheatre for whom she was writing a play.
  95. 95. 95 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 77. Lilian Lucy Davidson ARHA (1879-1954) When the Day is Done Oil on canvas, 45.75 x 61cm Signed with monogram 78. Lilian Lucy Davidson ARHA (1879-1954) Fair Day,Westport Oil on canvas, 66 x 76cm Signed with monogram
  96. 96. 96 79. Lilian Lucy Davidson ARHA (1879-1954) Pull for the Shore Oil on canvas, 51 x 40.5cm Signed with monogram Exhibited: 1951 RHA Annual Exhibition Cat. No. 113 80. *Lilian Lucy Davidson ARHA (1879-1954) Night at Bruges Oil on board, 40.5 x 30.5cm Signed with monogram This work is thought to date from 1922 the year Davidson exhibited seven works of Bruges in the Watercolour Society of Ireland
  97. 97. 97 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 81. Eva Hamilton (1876-1960) The Strawberry Pickers Oil on panel, 23 x 33cm ______________________________________________________________ Eva Hamilton was the elder sister of Letitia Hamilton, with whom she studied at the Metropolitan School of Art under Sir William Orpen who much influenced her work. She initially specialized in portraiture but due to economic necessity she had to give this up to keep house for herself and her family and was later to venture into capturing the Irish landscape often on small panels. She joined the Dublin Painters’ Society in 1922 and held several one person shows there. She took over as president of the society from Harriet Kirkwood in 1948.
  98. 98. 98 82. Harriet Kirkwood (1880-1953) The Harbour Howth Oil on canvas, 46 x 55.5cm Provenance:The artist’s family Harriet Kirkwood initially studied at the Metropolitan School of Art in 1908/9 session returning again ten years later . John Butler Yeats had encouraged her to study abroad which she did including studying with André Lhote in the 1930’s. She was friendly with, and much influenced by, fellow artists Mainie Jellett, Evie Hone and Norah Mc Guinness. She was a great supporter of other artists regularly supporting them through the purchase of their work. She was greatly involved in the Dublin Painters Society serving first as Secretary and later as President from 1936 - 1948. Fig. 36. Harriet Kirkwood
  99. 99. 99 Irish Women Artists 1870 - 1970 Summer 2014 83. *Harriet Kirkwood (1880-1953) Rural Still Life Oil on canvas, 56 x 66cm Provenance:The artist’s family
  100. 100. 100 Fig. 37.“Joan Jameson Exhibition” Crawford Gallery Cork Fig. 38. Joan Jameson 84. *Joan Jameson (1892-1953) Making the Bed Oil on canvas, 63 x 78cm Signed, inscribed with title verso Exhibited: IELA 1945, Cat. No.79

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